All posts by Madiha Farrukh

Amazing Sale at Boots

Few days back, I heard about the biggest sale of the year on Boots. They are offering some exciting discounts of 25% to 75% off which are absolutely mind blowing. Boots is usually famous for their No 7 products but they also have many other cosmetics brands like Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel, Ted Baker etc. under the same umbrella. Boots has their own products too like moisturizers, scrubs and other body products which are mostly made in England. Continue reading

Middle Eastern cuisine at Al Majlis Al Khaleeji Restaurant

Living in Saudi Arabia for so many years and still if you have not tried the local food then you are really missing on to something tasty. On Eid ul Fitr as our family gathered so we decided to give a taste to local cuisine of Middle East. Although living in kingdom we have eaten the famous ‘Shawaya’ many times but it does not truly speaks of the local cuisine. So after surfing on internet and recommendation from few Arabic friends, we decided to visit Majlis al Khaleeji, located on Imam Saud Road, near exit 9.

Majlis Al Khaleji (38)

Majlish Al Khaleeji is famous for Middle Eastern cuisine. It offers a menu that reflects different cuisines of Middle Eastern countries. As you enter the restaurant, the very first thing that inspires you is the spacious building at a calm location. You can see the Single’s section outside the glass door and it is pretty big and gives a clean look. As you enter the family section, it looks even bigger and the classic Middle Eastern culture strikes you as you move ahead you get to see maps, pictures, flags and artifacts of Middle East. The interior is highly traditional that’s why I enjoyed this restaurant because I believe you don’t eat with only your mouth but with eyes.

It is one of the busiest restaurants so if you can’t find a empty section instantly, you can wait on the sofas. As we entered we were directed to one of the family sections which are covered by a curtain. The sitting area for one family is very spacious. You obviously have to sit on wall to wall carpet and cushions. Eating with hands and sitting on the floor for meals is one of the oldest traditions of Middle East so live with it and enjoy.

We ordered Makabus Meat which is cooked lamb with masala rice, garnished with fried onions and lemon. I really like the flavor of lamb with rice. Meat was perfectly cooked without any smell. But as far as the serving is concerned, I feel it is a bit overpriced. It is priced at 65 SAR but the taste somehow justifies the price.

We also ordered Madhby Chicken served with white fried rice. It was for just SAR 18 but the taste was so delicious that it makes up for every penny.  Juicy chicken, crispy skin and perfectly cooked rice were hit of the day.

Majlis Al Khaleji (12)

Fukhareat Lahm priced for 25 SAR was a gravy dish cooked with different vegetables and meat. It was served in a very traditional clay pot. The look of the gravy was not very eye catching but trust me with the soft and chewy Naan Roti, it tasted very yummy. I don’t think I have had such good vegetable gravy in a long time.

The service at Majlis Al Khaleeji is very good. As some of us were not comfortable eating with hands so we asked the waiter to bring us extra plate and spoons and they did. They usually don’t keep extra plates or spoons and you have to eat in the serving plates.

All in all a very good eating experience with Middle Eastern cuisine and it is definitely not the last. Hygienic environment, interior and tasty food needs another visit.

You can check the whole menu in the pictures below.

Location (Google Coordinates: 24.783607, 46.746519)

Ranosh: Juicy Corner

Summer is all about drinks and juices and especially in Kingdom where temperature gets so high and scorching heat outside makes you always looking for some nice drinks to boost up the energy levels. Ranosh is one of the best juice spots in Riyadh. You can find Ranosh at many drive ways for take outs or you can go to its branch on Imam Saud Road near exit 9.

You place your order and then wait in queue to pick it. You can also enjoy in the dining area as it is clean and so vibrant. The interior catches your eyes instantly. The vibrant orange color of chairs refreshes you up and the fruity decorations add a nice touch to the whole place.

We ordered Berries, Strawberry and Mixed Kiwi Lemon Juices. All tasted so nice and they are very fresh because they are freshly made. The kitchen is so neat and you can see it across the counter.

I like my juice sugar free but if you like adding some sugar ask them when placing orders.  Do ask them to add some more ice always if you like chilled juices.

They have a huge variety of juices of almost every seasonal fruit like pomegranate, guava, avocado, oranges, grapefruit, apple, pineapple etc. They also have different flavored milks made from fresh fruits, smoothies, shakes, ice creams and cocktails.

They also have a good number of desserts but I always go for juices. This is what they are famous far.

You can have a look at the detailed menu on their website Ranosh.com. You can also place order for juices and desserts on their website but it should be above 100 SAR.

Enjoy your summer with icy drinks at Ranosh.

Location (Google Coordinate: 24.772474, 46.720787)

Etimad Pakistan – KSA new Visa Fee

MANDATORY MEDICAL INSURANCE

As mandated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia, all Applicants travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are required to obtain a Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) approved Medical Insurance Certificate from the Visa Application Centre.

The cost of the insurance is generated upon receiving the application and has to be paid at the time of the appointment.

As the news of new visa fee structure was circulating the Saudi media & expatriate community for quite some time now. Today, on 2nd October 2016, affecting immediately, the fees has been applied. Etimad Pakistan, company dealing with stamping of visa, has updated the new fee structure on their website. As so many Pakistani settled in Saudi Arabia, call their loved ones to kingdom on visit visas each year, so this news of increase in visa fee is substantially important for the audience.

As it was stated that 1st Muharram i.e. 2nd October, 2016 will be the starting date of application of new visa fees, so as the first thing in morning, I turned towards Etimad Pakistan website to check the status and I found this:

So, from now on for Family visit visa (for each person), you will have to pay 62,921 PKR (Pakistani Rupees) for a normal package and 67,680 PKR for a lounge package. Earlier the normal stamping cost was 10,000 PKR and 15,000 PKR for lounge package. The visa fee applicable to both packages for family visit will be 58,600 PKR which is almost 10 times of the previous fee (5,870 PKR).

IMPORTANT NOTICE- In effect from 01 Muharram, 1438 corresponding to 02 October, 2016. As per the instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, invitation letters dated prior to Sunday, 02 October 2016 will not be accepted for processing new visa requests. Travelers are requested to obtain a new invitation letter to process their applications. Invitation letter is mandatory for application processing.

Following are the highlights of the applied changes related to visa for KSA:

  • One time entry visa fee now is SAR 2000 (excluding the stamping charges). KSA government will bear this cost for the people that are performing Hajj or Umrah for the first time. For the second time people performing Hajj or Umrah SAR 2000 will be charges as visa fee (excluding the stamping fee)
  • The exit/re-entry visa fees is:
    • SAR 200 for a single trip for a maximum of two months and additional SAR100 for each month.
    • SAR 500 for multiple trips for maximum three months and additional SAR 200 for each month.
  • Multiple exit/re-entry visa fees:
    • SAR 3000 for the six-month visa
    • SAR 5000 for the one-year visa
    • SAR 8000 for the two-year visa

 

Visa applications submitted from 17th October, 2106 will have to get a Medical Insurance Certificate from Visa Application Center i.e. Etimad Office. Earlier it was said that the fee for medical insurance will be USD 254 (approximately 1000 SAR). But our reader Mr. Usman Sheikh has confirmed that he had paid 3,500 PKR (approximately 125 SAR) for medical insurance.

Complete detail of medical Insurance can be found in this VisaTermsAndConditions document.

Etimad – Medical Insurance Benefits

One of our reader Mr. Nauman inquired from Etimad regarding the medical insurance fee and following is their reply:

Dear Sir,

Insurance fee calculation is on daily base offering rate, age of applicant, time span of visa and other factors. We cannot give an exact amount, it can be between 6,000 to 30,000 PKR per passport.

Regards Etimad Team.

Please note, no other medical insurance certificate will be acceptable.

etimad-health-insurance

 

King Abdullah Park

Riyadh is a place where you need to put your great efforts to explore the places where you can spend quality time with your family and friends except the boundaries of luxurious malls. People usually get very few places in Riyadh where they can find themselves closer to nature and inhale quality oxygen. Lately after search on internet, we explored the Park named King Abdullah Park in Malaz Area and it turned out to be one of the best finds for open area in the kingdom. Continue reading

Baith Al Farouj

Best broasted chicken in Riyadh: Bait ul Farooj

Few days back we heard about Bait al Farooj, a famous broasted chicken place in Riyadh and decided to give it a try. Bait al Farooj is a very nice small restaurant located on intersection of Imam Saud road & King Abdul Aziz road. When you enter the restaurant, the environment looks very neat and tidy. You won’t find the restaurant empty ever as it is known as one of the best broasted points in Riyadh. You have to line up and wait for your turn to place order. Continue reading

31May/16

Riyadh Zoo

In the kingdom usually people think that there are very few places outdoor where people can enjoy but it’s actually not true. If you hunt in right direction, you will find some exciting places to go to and Riyadh Zoo is one of them. Some days back, we planned a trip to Riyadh Zoo and it turned out quite nice except for the sunlight that may bother you if you are visiting during the summer. Continue reading

Dinner at Spices Village Restaurant

Finding Pakistani flavored Karahi and Kabab’s in Riyadh sounds like a blessing to us. After reading some views online, we decided to give a try to Spices Village, a restaurant located in Olaya near Kingdom Tower. As you enter the restaurant, the environment looks very calm and peaceful. On weekends, it is almost filled with families but the place is always tidy and clean which makes it our priority to have dinner when we are craving for Desi food. Continue reading

21May/16

Sizzling dinner at Sizzler House

Few days back, we decided to try the food of Sizzler House in Riyadh as we read some good reviews about the restaurant. So, on last weekend after shopping, we went to Sizzler House on Tahlia Street but were disappointed as they told us that they are not taking orders but only buffet is available. Continue reading

19May/16

Pakistani Breakfast at Lazeez Restaurant

Living in a foreign land becomes more difficult if you cannot enjoy the food there. Living in Saudi Kingdom is not hard for us at least because we get enough flavorful Pakistani food here that complements our taste buds as well as our appetite. Few days back, we discovered a nice place for Pakistani breakfast and that is “Lazeez restaurant“. Lazeez Restaurant is located in Hai Al Wazarat (aka Hara) Riyadh. Continue reading

Danube Home: A Great place to buy furniture

All the expats who come to Saudi Arabia, their first priority is to find an apartment or villa and settle down as quickly as possible to save the living cost of hotel apartments. To get settled, first of all they need to buy furniture for house. It is very difficult to find a furniture store that is economical especially when you are living in Riyadh. Continue reading